Subra Suresh Distinguished Lecture
Innovation by Evolution: Bringing New Chemistry to Life
The inaugural Subra Suresh Distinguished Lecture will be presented on May 19, 2022 by Dr. Frances Arnold, the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology. The Subra Suresh Distinguished Lecture is given by leaders in the broad intellectual domain of multidisciplinary science and engineering, and Dr. Arnold's work epitomizes the brilliance of what can be accomplished in this domain. Dr. Arnold's contributions span engineering, chemistry, biology, and medicine, and she was chosen by the Selection Committee for her deep and broad contributions to the field of directed protein evolution. Arnold pioneered directed protein evolution and has used those methods for applications in alternative energy, chemicals, and medicine.
Not satisfied with nature's vast catalyst repertoire, we want to create new protein catalysts and expand the space of genetically encoded enzyme functions. I will describe how we can use the most powerful biological design process, evolution, to optimize existing enzymes and invent new ones, thereby circumventing our profound ignorance of how sequence encodes function. Extending the capabilities and uncovering the mechanisms of these newly-evolved enzymes provide a basis for discovering biocatalysts for increasingly challenging reactions. These capabilities increase the scope of molecules and materials we can build using synthetic biology and move us closer to a sustainable world where chemical synthesis can be fully programmed in DNA.
About Frances Arnold
Frances Arnold is the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology, where she has been on the faculty since 1986. She is the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2018). Arnold pioneered directed protein evolution and has used those methods for applications in alternative energy, chemicals, and medicine. Arnold received the Charles Stark Draper Prize of the US National Academy of Engineering in 2011, the US National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Obama in 2013, and the Millennium Technology Prize in 2016; she has been elected to all three US National Academies of Science, Medicine, and Engineering. Arnold was appointed to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 2019 and recently received the Portrait of a Nation Award at the National Portrait Gallery. Arnold co-founded three companies in sustainable chemistry and renewable energy (Gevo, Provivi, Aralez Bio) and serves on several public and private company boards. She earned a B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Please note that all attendees at events on campus must be fully vaccinated and boosted if they are eligible for a booster dose, or more than 30 days from becoming eligible. If you can't join us in person, please join us virtually!